That’s-not-All Technique

That’s Not All, Folks! If the notion of reciprocal concessions is correct, then a person shouldn’t actually have to refuse the initial offer in order for the shift to a smaller request to work. Indeed, another familiar sales strategy manages to use concession without first eliciting refusal. In this strategy, a product is offered at a particular price, but then, before the buyer has a chance to respond, the seller adds, “And that’s not all!” At that point, either the original price is reduced or a bonus is offered to sweeten the pot. The seller, of course, intends all along to make the so-called concession.

This ploy, called the that’s-not-all technique, seems transparent, right? Surely no one falls for it, right? Burger (1986) was not so sure. He predicted that people are more likely to make a purchase when a deal seems to have improved than when the same deal is offered right from the start. To test this hypothesis, Burger set up a booth at a campus fair and sold cupcakes. Some customers who approached the table were told that the cupcakes cost 75 cents each. Others were told that they cost a dollar, but then, before they could respond, the price was reduced to 75 cents. Rationally speaking, Burger’s manipulation did not affect the ultimate price, so it should not have affected sales. But it did. When customers were led to believe that the final price represented a reduction, sales increased from 44% to 73%. Since this initial study, others have confirmed the “mindless” effect of this strategy on compliance.

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